Members of all three families said they’re leaning on their faith to find forgiveness and hope for the future. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports.  Credit: Newsday/Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp ; A.J. Singh

A West Hempstead woman who killed two friends in a high-speed crash during what the family of the victims said was a fit of jealous rage was sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison Wednesday.

In February, Nylah Frazier, 20, admitted gunning her BMW X3 down Westminster Road in West Hempstead on Oct. 1, 2021, reaching speeds of 102 mph, running a red light and smashing into a parked dump truck, causing the car to flip over and jettison two of the passengers, Amanda Arguinzoni, 17, and Kurtis “CJ” Caesar, 19.

The teens were killed from the impact.

Frazier agreed in February to plead guilty in a deal with the Nassau County district attorney’s office. In exchange, prosecutors requested a sentence of 7 to 12 years behind bars. Justice Caryn Fink, however, settled on 3 to 9 years for the two manslaughter charges and an additional 7 years for the assaults. Those terms would run concurrently, the judge said.

“This case has been the most difficult case to preside over. It’s been heartbreak all around,” Fink said before the sentencing. “I hope that while you are serving your jail time that you will use that time to reflect on the fact that you have shattered two families beyond repair.”

Fink denied Frazier youthful offender status that would have allowed her to expunge her record after she served her sentence.

The families of both teens have said how bitter they are over the apparent lack of remorse from Frazier and her family, but on Wednesday, she spoke to them for the first time since the crash.

“I would like to express my sincere condolence and apologies to CJ and Amanda and their families,” she said without emotion, reading from her cellphone. “I know that there is nothing that I can do to bring them back, but I will spend the rest of my life trying.”

She also apologized to her family.

Family members of the victims have said Frazier was driving fast because she was angry after learning that a young man she liked had a girlfriend, according to Allison Hughes, a family friend and neighbor.

Prosecutors acknowledged that Frazier was angry during the day, but said she had a few hours to calm down and did not believe her emotional state was a factor in the crash.

Nassau Assistant District Attorney Tara DePalo said it was speed and recklessness that caused the crash.

“The defendant rolled the dice with how she chose to drive and Amanda Arguinzoni and Kurtis ‘CJ’ Caesar lost,” she told the court.

Caesar’s father, Kurtis Caesar Sr., a car mechanic, said his son was studying to be a mechanic at Lincoln Technical School. CJ was also active in their church and played the drums during services.

“As Kurtis became older, he became bolder and less shy, but he was always humble,” his father said.

He said his faith had taught him to forgive, so he would forgive Frazier.

CJ’s mother, Nadia Winter, a nurse who works with inmates at Rikers Island, gave Frazier advice for her incarceration. “Pick and choose your battles when you get there,” she said. “Don’t say too much and don’t say too little when you get there. I hope when you get out, you’re a better person.”

Arguinzoni's parents had their statements read into the record.

“Nylah, my dear, you intentionally drove recklessly at speeds of over 100 mph in a residential area, passing multiple red lights at that speed, thinking of no consequences, endangering people in and outside of your car, taking the lives of my daughter, Amanda Arguinzoni and her friend CJ, two innocent children,” the prosecutor read, as Pedro and Ruby Arguinzoni wept at the podium. “This was not an accident. This was intentional negligence causing the death of my daughter Amanda.”

For the Arguinzoni family, they said no punishment would bring their daughter back, but three years isn’t enough.

“I would have thought Nylah's punishment would have been more severe for killing two innocent kids and not a slap on the wrist,” her parents wrote in their statement. “The system has failed Amanda and CJ and our families.”

A West Hempstead woman who killed two friends in a high-speed crash during what the family of the victims said was a fit of jealous rage was sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison Wednesday.

In February, Nylah Frazier, 20, admitted gunning her BMW X3 down Westminster Road in West Hempstead on Oct. 1, 2021, reaching speeds of 102 mph, running a red light and smashing into a parked dump truck, causing the car to flip over and jettison two of the passengers, Amanda Arguinzoni, 17, and Kurtis “CJ” Caesar, 19.

The teens were killed from the impact.

Frazier agreed in February to plead guilty in a deal with the Nassau County district attorney’s office. In exchange, prosecutors requested a sentence of 7 to 12 years behind bars. Justice Caryn Fink, however, settled on 3 to 9 years for the two manslaughter charges and an additional 7 years for the assaults. Those terms would run concurrently, the judge said.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • A West Hempstead woman was sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison in a fatal car crash that killed two friends in 2021.
  • Nylah Frazier, 20, admitted gunning her BMW X3 down Westminster Road in West Hempstead, reaching speeds of 102 mph, running a red light and smashing into a parked dump truck, causing the car to flip over and jettison two of the passengers.
  • Amanda Arguinzoni and Kurtis “CJ” Caesar were killed in the crash.

“This case has been the most difficult case to preside over. It’s been heartbreak all around,” Fink said before the sentencing. “I hope that while you are serving your jail time that you will use that time to reflect on the fact that you have shattered two families beyond repair.”

Fink denied Frazier youthful offender status that would have allowed her to expunge her record after she served her sentence.

The families of both teens have said how bitter they are over the apparent lack of remorse from Frazier and her family, but on Wednesday, she spoke to them for the first time since the crash.

“I would like to express my sincere condolence and apologies to CJ and Amanda and their families,” she said without emotion, reading from her cellphone. “I know that there is nothing that I can do to bring them back, but I will spend the rest of my life trying.”

She also apologized to her family.

Family members of the victims have said Frazier was driving fast because she was angry after learning that a young man she liked had a girlfriend, according to Allison Hughes, a family friend and neighbor.

Prosecutors acknowledged that Frazier was angry during the day, but said she had a few hours to calm down and did not believe her emotional state was a factor in the crash.

Nassau Assistant District Attorney Tara DePalo said it was speed and recklessness that caused the crash.

“The defendant rolled the dice with how she chose to drive and Amanda Arguinzoni and Kurtis ‘CJ’ Caesar lost,” she told the court.

Caesar’s father, Kurtis Caesar Sr., a car mechanic, said his son was studying to be a mechanic at Lincoln Technical School. CJ was also active in their church and played the drums during services.

“As Kurtis became older, he became bolder and less shy, but he was always humble,” his father said.

He said his faith had taught him to forgive, so he would forgive Frazier.

CJ’s mother, Nadia Winter, a nurse who works with inmates at Rikers Island, gave Frazier advice for her incarceration. “Pick and choose your battles when you get there,” she said. “Don’t say too much and don’t say too little when you get there. I hope when you get out, you’re a better person.”

Arguinzoni's parents had their statements read into the record.

“Nylah, my dear, you intentionally drove recklessly at speeds of over 100 mph in a residential area, passing multiple red lights at that speed, thinking of no consequences, endangering people in and outside of your car, taking the lives of my daughter, Amanda Arguinzoni and her friend CJ, two innocent children,” the prosecutor read, as Pedro and Ruby Arguinzoni wept at the podium. “This was not an accident. This was intentional negligence causing the death of my daughter Amanda.”

For the Arguinzoni family, they said no punishment would bring their daughter back, but three years isn’t enough.

“I would have thought Nylah's punishment would have been more severe for killing two innocent kids and not a slap on the wrist,” her parents wrote in their statement. “The system has failed Amanda and CJ and our families.”

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